UTA student to participate in journalist mentoring program at convention

Posted on 03 Sep 2009 at 10:15pm
By DAVID TAFFET I Staff Writer taffet@dallasvoice.com

Scholarship honoring Texas Triangle founder Longcope to be awarded at NLGJA gathering in Montreal


Anthony Williams

The National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association announced that eight journalism students will participate in a weeklong program in September. Including one student from the University of Texas at Arlington.

The intensive student project will be held in conjunction with the group’s annual convention in Montreal Sept. 10-13.

UTA student Anthony Williams, who has been chosen for the program, majored in broadcast journalism and graduated in August. He has interned with the La Grande Observer in Oregon and the Houston Chronicle. Last fall, Williams served as president of the UTA chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists.

Although a number of UTA students have been chosen for the program in the past, Williams said he didn’t hear about it through them.

"I found it on the Internet. I came across NLGJA last year," he said.

Williams applied for the program last year, but was not accepted. During the year, he kept in touch with convention program manager Tony Avila and applied again as soon as he saw applications posted on the Web site.

At the convention, the students will work in a newsroom environment and develop stories from panel discussions and presentations at the convention, as well as cover events in the Montreal LGBT community.

Dallas Morning News reporter Ian McCann is the president of D-FW chapter of NLGJA. He calls the program "the crown jewel of the NLGJA convention."

"I’ve been a mentor with the program before," McCann said. "We bring in a number of students to cover the convention for us."

Members play the role of line editor and perform other editorial functions during the week. McCann said it’s gratifying to see the progress the students make during the week.

"We’ve had dozens of students over the years and I’ve seen many come back as working journalists," said McCann.

Williams is not working yet, but he said, "I hope something happens at the job fair" at the convention.

Williams goes into the convention with an impressive portfolio. As an intern at the Chronicle, he said he pitched a story in conjunction with a radio station HIV awareness campaign. One editor thought it would be nothing more than a radio station promo, but another encouraged him. His piece ended up on the front of the paper’s city section.

Coverage of MTV’s "America’s Best Dance Crew" was an assignment that grew for Williams when one of the three crews from Houston last season made it to the finals. His coverage included articles, weekly blog postings and video.

Also at the Montreal convention this year, the NLGJA will award a scholarship named for Kay Longcope, founder of the now-defunct statewide LGBT newspaper Texas Triangle. Robert Moore, owner and publisher of Dallas Voice and Voice Publishing Co., bought the Triangle in late 2004, merging it with the entertainment magazine Q Texas to form TXT Newsmagazine.

TXT closed at the end of 2005.

Longcope, who launched the Triangle in 1992 with her longtime partner Barbara Wohlgemuth, began her career in journalism as a reporter for the Boston Globe, where she worked for more than 20 years and was considered the Globe’sfirst out reporter. Under her leadership as publisher, the Austin-based Triangle received a number of awards, including awards for excellence in journalism from the NLGJA and the Clark Read Civil Liberties Foundation’s First Amendment Award.

In 1996, Longcope sold the newspaper to Todd Cunningham and James Bengfort. She died of pancreatic cancer in 2007. The Kay Longcope Scholarship was established in 2008 through a gift from her estate and Wohlgemuth. The award will go to an LGBT student of color who plans a career in journalism and is committed to furthering NLGJA’s mission of fair and accurate coverage of the LGBT community.

To qualify, undergraduate students in other majors must demonstrate their commitment to pursuing a journalism career through work samples, internships and work on a school news publication, online news service or broadcast affiliate. Graduate students must be enrolled in a journalism program, according to a press release from NLGJA.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 4, 2009.

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